The 5th game of their 10 game match took place on May 25, 2014, in Shangri-La, Yunnan, China.
Lee Sedol won by resignation, reclaiming his lead in the match with an overall score of 3-2 in Lee’s favor.
Gu Li takes an early lead
In what seems to be a ‘joseki’ in games between these too, Gu Li’s superlative sense of play in the opening saw him take an early lead.
Up to White 38, commentators agreed that Gu (playing White) had the advantage.
Sensing his disadvantage, Lee wasted no time in complicating the game, going all out with Black 45 and 47 – a rarely seen pattern of play.
Lee Sedol fights tooth and nail
Lee Sedol fought back doggedly, complicating the game through a series of hard negotiations.
All sorts of subtle trades were offered. All sorts of silent threats were made.
However, Gu responded masterfully – seeing through Lee’s snares, maintaining his balance, and preserving his advantage.
Gu was able to end the negotiations in sente, and began the macro endgame with White 106.
Lee resisted hard with Black 117, refusing to give an inch and daring White to fight a ko – an offer which Gu happily accepted.
It seemed like the game was almost over (and I was getting ready to write this article). Lee was fighting a difficult ko, but he managed to launch himself off the ropes and land several blows against Gu in the complicated fighting that followed.
Gasping for breath
It seems that Gu may have succumbed to altitude sickness. From White 140 onwards he made several questionable moves.
The venue for the match was apparently well over 3000 m (10,000 ft) above sea level. Usually when tourists visit Shangri-La, they stop in Lijiang for several days to acclimatize.
In fact, both players were struggling with the climate, but it seems like it may have affected Gu Li more.
While Shangri-La boasts a world heritage listed national park, I’m not sure why the sponsor chose to hold games in these elevated locations.
Game 7 will be held in Lhasa, which (according to the Chinese media) is even further above sea level than Shangri-La.
Random Go trivia: China’s legendary Nie Weiping 9p had oxygen tanks and breathing appartus on standby at many of his major matches.
In his biography, it was explained that Nie needed to use the breathing apparatus because he concentrated so hard during his games, but Nie was also a prolific smoker, so make up your own mind.
More trivia: Shangri-La, in Yunnan Province, used to be called Zhongdian (or Jiantang in Tibetan), but was renamed to Shangri-La in 2001 to attract tourists!
It was named after the fictional Tibetan land in James Hilton’s novel Lost Horizon. The novel has also been turned into a movie.
An Younggil’s preliminary analysis
For those of you who enjoy more detailed analysis, and less trivia, here are Younggil’s preliminary comments on the game (you can find the game record below):
Black started the game with the Chinese Opening.
Black 17 was unusual (the attachment at S16 is more common) and the result up to White 28 was playable for White.
Black 33 seemed questionable. Jumping at E14 would have been better.
Black 37 was very solid, but the result up to White 38 was better for White.
Invading at Black 39 was good, and Black 45 and 47 were a nice combination.
White’s responses at 48 and 52 were good, and the result up to White 62 was still favorable for White.
Gu made a good choice in sacrificing with White 66 and the game became simple and easy.
White 76 was very big, but there was bad aji at the bottom and Black was able to move out with Black 77 and 79. The game became complicated.
White 84 and Black 85 were unexpected, but nice, moves. The trade up to Black 105 was (locally) even, but White still maintained a slight lead.
White 106, 110, 112, and 114 were nice endgame moves. The game was still better for Gu.
With Black 117, Lee played an astonishing move. It seemed to be an overplay.
White 118 and 122 were an excellent combination and Black was in trouble.
Black 127 was a subtle and tricky ko threat. Gu made a mistake here. He should have answered the ko threat with White 128.
There was another big trade up to Black 133 and the game was still playable for White. However, the game became more complicated. It wasn’t a good sign for Gu, because he was already in the lead.
White 140 looked questionable. White should have played at N12.
Black 141 was a brilliant move. There was some bad aji at the top, and Black was able to enlarge the center while eyeing the bad aji.
White 146 was another questionable move. Gu should have ataried at M14.
Black was happy to move out up to Black 153 and it seemed that the game had been reversed at this point.
White 158 seemed to be another mistake, and the game was practically over when Black took two stones with Black 163.
Even though White was able to capture Black’s stones at the top, with White 172, the game already favored Black.
Gu resisted with White 182 and 184, but didn’t succeed because of he was short of of ko threats.
It was an incredible game between Lee and Gu, and it was the most spectactular game of the match so far.
Now let’s cut across to the FIFA World Cup
As many readers will be aware, the FIFA World Cup kicks off in Brazil on June 12 and continues for one month.
Both Lee and Gu could do with a rest and it turns out that they also want to watch the football like the rest of us. Gu Li actually plays in a social football team and has played in a team with other Go players from time to time.
Because of that, the Jubango will now take two month break and game 6 won’t be played until July 27.
This is a good thing! We were having great trouble keeping track of what was going on when game 1 of this match was scheduled at the same time as the Australian Open final back in January.
Lee Sedol will be able to enjoy his lead for two months, while he watches the World Cup.
The MLily Gu vs Lee Jubango
Two of the world’s top Go players, Lee Sedol and Gu Li, will play a jubango throughout 2014, to decide which of them is the stronger player.
A jubango is a 10 game match between two players. The term originates from the Japanese language and has been imported into English language Go parlance. The first player to win six games wins the match.
Lee Sedol vs Gu Li – Game 5